In the Mirror


Healthcare Ideas From Us – Part I

Blog From
March 3rd, 2010

Most everyone criticizes the healthcare proposals from Obama and Congress. Many believe the remedies are far worse than the ills they’re supposed to cure. So, Sidney and I have come up with a couple of thoughts about how to fix things. You know, some healthcare tires for folks to kick.

I’m going to write about the first part – the problems we could try solving and the approach we might use. Next week, Sidney will present some solutions.

The first thing to do is decide what we really want to accomplish in healthcare. Forget about the politicians and their syrupy, self-serving speeches. What’s important? Doing nothing? Doing something? How about this: solid, affordable healthcare that covers all Americans, including our pre-existing conditions.

Is this a good idea? If you’re right-brained like me, you’re in favor because it makes you feel good. And if you’re left-brained like Sidney, you want it, too, because it makes sense.

What’s so sensible about it? A healthy population goes a long way to keeping a country’s economy purring. Isn’t it better to have hale and hearty, productive citizens rather than a society of sick ones? And if preventative medicine is any good, healthcare for Americans will end up saving money in the long run. You know, an ounce of checkups is worth a ton of medical procedures.

The next thing we need is the right approach to meeting our goal. How do we get there? For starters, without the politicians. We’ve seen how they behave. Doling out pork to each other. Secret wheels and deals with industry leaders. Huge deficits that we’ll never pay off. Slow death by government. To be successful, we must separate self-interest from the solution process. That means no politicians.

There’s another reason to just say no to politicians. Congress is not qualified to develop a comprehensive healthcare plan.  Of the 535 voting members, over 450 have lived lives saturated in politics. They’ve been state legislators, governors and lieutenant governors, former congressional staffers, White House aides, cabinet secretaries and town mayors. A lot of political jobs. Not a lot of real-life experience.

Politicians don’t even try to fake the necessary expertise. How many bothered reading the thousands of pages in the House and Senate bills before voting along party lines? According to them, almost none.

If we have any doubt about how bad politicians are at creating healthcare systems just look at Medicare and Medicaid. According to the CBO, current federal spending for those two entitlements is the “biggest single threat” to budget stability. It will grow faster than the economy over the next 10 years. And politicians have zero inclination to do anything about it, except spend more.

But, eliminating the politicians is not the end. It’s the beginning. Who will develop a solution? A group with proper expertise and no financial stake in the outcome. A combination of medical scientists and business people with experience in the healthcare industry, but not beholden to it. Both are needed to develop a common sense, workable solution. And next week, we can read about one.

See you in the mirror.

Posted in In the Mirror